Article by Mitch Potter, Toronto Star
On paper, it all seems perfectly simple: five weeks from now Canada will flip a cataclysmic switch. And just like that, cannabis will be legal.
Goodbye, century of marijuana prohibition. Farewell, black market. Hello officer, put that badge away and sit for a while. There’s no crime here. Not anymore.
But as the government well knows, what’s written on paper won’t add up to anything nearly so blissful. Though Oct. 17 looms as a cultural and legal sea change, cannabis will not shed its stigma overnight.
As the new law takes hold, few expect the vast black and grey markets that carried Canadian cannabis to this moment to vanish like so many puffs of smoke, surrendering lock, stock and barrel to Bay Street’s new publicly traded titans of factory-scale production.
The day weed becomes legal, activists and cannabis law experts say, marks the start of a prolonged, uncertain and potentially ugly battle for the shape and soul of the industry that emerges from the regulatory haze.
“I haven’t had a day off in two years and I doubt I will for the next five,” said Toronto-based cannabis lawyer Jack Lloyd. “There are so many legal battles ahead.” Lloyd is at the forefront of the fight to bring grey-market cannabis producers into the legal light as licensed providers of the product they know so well.